Purposeful Parenting: When Parenting Isn’t Fun

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Purposeful Parenting: When Parenting Isn’t Fun

Most days I am so happy to be a stay at home mom. I love my kids, I love spending time with them and I love being able to have an influence over their lives. There are those days, though, that can really get to me.

Yesterday was one of them.

My teenage son has Asperger’s Syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder), and while he has made HUGE strides in many areas, there are some days when he is highly agitated. When we start the day off in that way, it never goes very well. He is irritated by everything and everyone and has no problem letting us know.

After a pretty calm day considering my son’s state, my husband and I left for our weekly date night. Most date nights we leave our children at home for a few hours with my oldest daughter in charge. Our teenage son is left with strict instructions for what he can and cannot do, and those things primarily consist of staying in his room to watch a movie or play his Wii.

I’m not sure if this is true of other children with Aspergers, but at least with my son, it’s as if he forgets everything we have ever taught him and every morning he starts with a fresh slate. We have to remind him daily about the appropriate way to interact with family members, but last night I forgot to remind him of the date night rules.

About an hour into our date, I called to see how things were going. My 11 year old daughter answered the phone crying, and when I asked what had happened she told me that her older brother had tried to get her to stop using the computer and when she did not comply (because she was following my instructions and did not need to), he turned off the computer.

Of course, this left my daughter very upset and resulted in the two of them shouting at each other, my daughter crying and us having to return home from our date to get everyone calmed down. I have to admit, I did not handle the conversation with my son as well as I would have liked. I participated in the shouting as well, but within a few minutes I was able to calm everyone down, have them ask each other’s forgiveness and move on. (Of course, dear son ended up with a consequence of doing his sister’s chores for the week.)

In moments like these, I wish so badly that we didn’t have to deal with the problems associated with Aspergers. The emotional drain of dealing with special needs is just exhausting and frustrating. I feel angry that my son behaved the way he did and that we had to end our date. I feel angry that we are limited in a lot of ways because of what my son deals with.

But then I remember that God gave me this child and He will enable me to parent him. Many parents can’t leave their special needs children even for a short time without arranging childcare. Some parents can’t have a conversation that their children can understand. I remember and I am thankful for what we do have.

So I will start again today asking for God’s grace and wisdom in caring for these children and thank Him that His mercies are new every morning.


  • Janet

    Thank you for this post. My 8-year old step-daughter is being diagnosed with ADHD, I know its not the same as Asperger’s, but it is now special needs. We don’t always handle eat situation the best (yes, a lot of shouting!) but we are on the journey together. Thank you for the last few comments, it could be worse and we need to thank God and know that he will give us the tools we need to deal with this and help her soar (already doing better at school!)

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      It’s so hard to keep things in perspective, isn’t it? Glad your daughter is doing better.

  • Jennifer Rooney

    Oh my gosh…once again I could have have written this! My 10 yr old son has Asperger’s. Which is how I came to find your site. You responded to something I wrote on another site. I only wish we would have had him diagnosed when he was younger. We had him evaluated when he was 9. I find myself giving in to so many things just to keep peace in the house. There is nothing like a melt down and it effects everyone in the family. It is soooo true that when they start a day off agitated it usually effects the WHOLE day. It is comforting to know that someone else is going through a VERY SIMILAR situation. I bet you our prayers even sound the same!! LOL

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Something like,”God, help me!”-LOL

  • Mary Ann Scholl

    Sorry that last night was so trying for you, your husband, and your children. Hope today was a better day!

  • Mary Ann Scholl

    I can not remember where I saw these following words, but sometimes when our children are trying to our souls, it lifts us back up to remember how important they are in God’s eyes. I am not saying it is always easy to be a mom, because every mother knows that it is not always easy! Hang in there. Know that your son’s condition is very trying on you, him, his father, and his sibling at times. Thinking of you and wishing you peace in your journey of raising your children.

    (Let’s insist on children being valued for who they are — eternal people made in the image of God. The Fall did not strip away our likeness to God — every child bears the likeness of the Heavenly Father (cf. Genesis 8:6; James 3:9). In addition, God is at work making each child special, even when the child is unseen in the womb of his or her mother (Psalm 139:13-16). God knows this unseen child and has a plan for her or his life.)

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Thank you so much Mary Ann.

  • Wynn Przybycien

    Thanks for sharing. A friend recommended your blog and I just started reading it this week. My three year old daughter was diagnosed with ASD last summer and we have also seen huge strides with her. We were fortunate to get Early Intervention Services for her right away and an amazing music therapist. The changes were monumental but we still have days that start and end badly. There are days my husband comes home from work and I just have to hide for a few minutes. I need a moment for no one to “need me”. I love this line “But then I remember that God gave me this child and He will enable me to parent him.” It’s a reminder that tomorrow is a new day and if I failed to react appropriately today, by God’s grace I get a chance to show her that grace tomorrow. She hasn’t stopped amazing us yet, and I don’t expect she will any time soon. And that is my hope.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      I love that we get to start over each day Wynn. :)

  • Valerie

    That certainly sounds frustrating. How awesome, though, that you were able to see your blessings in that situation! I’m sure your children benefit greatly by seeing how you can manage to focus on the positives and be joyful (even if it isn’t right in the moment….hey, nobody’s perfect!) That’s something there is a real shortage of nowadays and it’s refreshing to read about the joys in the midst of difficulties for a change! :-)

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Thanks Valerie. :)

  • Kamey

    I am proud of you for seeing God’s blessings in moments like these. Our kids are blessings, and thank you for giving me a reminder of this. I needed it today.

    Have you ever thought about using essential oils for your son? They help with many different things, even autism. Here is a website about it. http://www.everythingessential.me/HealthConcerns/Autism.html#page=page-2
    If you would like some samples and to learn more about them, let me know.

  • http://www.betteronabudget.com Evelyn

    I love this post. I’m so sorry you deal with these issues on a daily basis. I totally understand. My 5-year old has autism, and it’s so frustrating being completely unable to go ANYWHERE without him. My husband and I haven’t had a date in at least 3 years…we wouldn’t even know what to do on a date! lol.

    Anyway, I just wanted to thank you and let you know that you are not alone. I hope it gets better for you!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Thanks Evelyn. BTW, my grandmother’s name is Evelyn. Love that name!

  • Liz

    I am with you on this one! My son is 12 and this year in particular has been really bad. He has ADHD and his hormones are raging….the combo is NOT fun. Sometimes I do fall into the “why me” but almost as soon as I say that I scold myself remembering that God doesn’t make mistakes and he gave me this child for a reason.
    Hang in there! YOU are not a lone!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Thanks Liz!

  • J Murphy

    nice post…no,parenting isn’t always fun (read:teen years) yet on the most basic level it reminds me daily how vital this job of good parenting is. And at my stage,with older kids (like you) when much of the worlds wisdom says’ leave ‘em alone,live your own life,let them do it on their own,they don’t need you anymore’ I know that toddlerhood is just the beginning,and it gets more intense as the kids grow. More time, more thought,more prayer,more love.I think it’s cool that you do a date night regularly,we need to get into that!!!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Date night is a life saver! :)

  • Christi


    Thanks so much for your post. I also have a teenage son with Aspbergers. It was like I was reading about my house! Thank you for reminding me that I’m not alone in dealing with these types of outbursts; but more importantly how special my child is.

    I sometimes get frustrated in thinking that he will be living with us forever – he just turned 16, and normally you’d expect him to be thinking about being on his own in 4-5 years; but with this one I don’t see him being on his own for quite a while yet. I keep trying to remember how much I enjoy his company, and treasure the time that he will be the only one left at home.

    Again thanks again for your post.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Christi-I know what you mean about this transition time. It is difficult sometimes to envision them as adults, but I am just trusting God that He will make a way. Blessings!

  • Alison

    Sweet Kimberlee, These dear ladies are as kind & composed as you are ….. I would have flat out resigned, left my patient husband with the kids and gone to a movie date – by myself- making sure I arrived home after everyone’s bedtime. Maybe if stopped by your blog more often- I, too, would become a more peaceful mom. Hugs & Kisses!